The Audi code for sustainability

From BattMAN ReLife to 3D scanning: Audi uses a variety of innovative digital solutions to optimize efficiency and environmental protection in production. Below are four examples.

03/17/2022 Reading Time: 6 min

Audi launched Mission:Zero

This mission is well under way: Audi has set itself the ambitious goal of being net carbon-neutral1 throughout the company by 2050. For this purpose, the company launched Mission:Zero, the production division’s environmental program that has advanced decarbonization in this area considerably. The plants in Győr (Hungary) and Brussels are already net carbon-neutral1, as is production of the Audi e-tron GT quattro at the Böllinger Höfe site in Neckarsulm. Audi aims to achieve this at all its production sites by 2025.

 

Digitalizing production is a key lever on the challenging path of Mission:Zero with its sustainability goals of decarbonization, resource efficiency, water usage and biodiversity. Efficient systems and innovative high-tech solutions are the cornerstones of fully connected, digitalized and sustainable production. Four examples show that efficiency and sustainability in production complement each other perfectly thanks to digitalized processes.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption (combined*) in kWh/100 km: 21.6–19.6CO₂ emissions (combined*) in g/km: 0
Information on fuel/power consumption and CO₂ emissions with ranges depending on the selected equipment of the vehicle.
Only consumption and emission values according to WLTP and not according to NEDC are available for the vehicle.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption (combined*) in kWh/100 km: 21.6–19.6CO₂ emissions (combined*) in g/km: 0
Information on fuel/power consumption and CO₂ emissions with ranges depending on the selected equipment of the vehicle.
Only consumption and emission values according to WLTP and not according to NEDC are available for the vehicle.

Sustainability at Audi: Assembly tools made from plastic waste, produced with the 3D printer
Fast, recycled assistance: Employees at the Neckarsulm site use more than 160 different assembly tools created by the 3D printer. The raw material for them is sourced from plastic waste generated during production.

Turning waste into something new

The idea is as simple as it is effective: In a pilot project in Neckarsulm, Audi employees are currently producing assembly tools themselves from plastic waste – with the help of 3D printers. For this purpose, packaging used to protect fragile components, such as loudspeakers or sensors, is collected and sorted by type. With the help of special equipment, these plastic blisters are shredded into granules and dried. A filament maker heats the granules to temperatures as high as 450 degrees Celsius and then presses them into plastic filaments. These are the source material for the 3D printers, which subsequently create production tools from them. In this way, employees not only get tools that are tailored precisely to the task at hand; they also receive them more quickly and sustainably than assembly tools that are manufactured externally and from plastic that has not been recycled. Among the tools are pressing aids, which are a kind of extended finger that makes it easier for production workers to attach clips to the car body, or assembly tools that can be used to accurately fit the four Audi rings to the rear of the car, for example. The 3D printing experts at the site have also developed their own software that can cut the design time for assembly equipment by up to 80 percent.

Mission:Zero – less is more

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Mission:Zero – less is more

With its clear commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, Audi has pledged to actively promote an environment worth living in and to build a sustainable future. Numerous measures along the value chain contribute to the AUDI AG vision of achieving net carbon neutrality1 throughout the company by 2050.

 

Climate change, water shortage, dwindling resources and the loss of biological diversity concern everybody and are among the greatest challenges today. Mission:Zero is the cross-site environmental program at Audi. It bundles all the measures to reduce the ecological footprint in Production and Logistics with the central goal of making all Audi production locations worldwide net carbon-neutral1 by 2025.

Augmented Reality increases efficiency: logistics planning at Audi
By using augmented reality, Audi increases efficiency and protects the environment in logistics planning.

Working sustainably in virtual space

Digital, connected working with significantly fewer business trips – 3D scans make this a reality. Moreover, virtual planning makes processes more efficient and sustainable. The Audi e-tron GT quattro, for example, is the first Audi model for which the assembly procedures and associated logistics processes were tested exclusively virtually and without any physical prototypes. With the help of virtual reality (VR), every work step and every action were simulated in advance in digital space. This kind of virtual planning is now used throughout the Group and provides for completely new work processes – and not just during the coronavirus pandemic. To ensure that everything runs smoothly in the factory later on, the production facility in question must be reproduced accurately and to scale. Using special hardware and software, the 3D scans create a virtual reproduction, including all equipment, tools and shelves. The 300,000 square meters of production space at the Neckarsulm site, where the Audi e-tron GT quattro is manufactured, have already been digitalized for this.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption (combined*) in kWh/100 km: 21.6–19.6CO₂ emissions (combined*) in g/km: 0
Information on fuel/power consumption and CO₂ emissions with ranges depending on the selected equipment of the vehicle.
Only consumption and emission values according to WLTP and not according to NEDC are available for the vehicle.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption (combined*) in kWh/100 km: 21.6–19.6CO₂ emissions (combined*) in g/km: 0
Information on fuel/power consumption and CO₂ emissions with ranges depending on the selected equipment of the vehicle.
Only consumption and emission values according to WLTP and not according to NEDC are available for the vehicle.

Reality meets virtual reality: Audi uses parts from the 3D printer
In the future, parts from the 3D printer will also allow individual elements to be physically tested in virtual space.

Thanks to the VR solution Audi has developed, employees from all over the world can meet in virtual environments, work collaboratively and optimize the later production processes at an early stage. Virtual planning is particularly sustainable because it saves not only time, but also materials by reducing the number of expensive prototypes. It also cuts carbon emissions by eliminating the need for business trips.

Emissions per vehicle

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Emissions per vehicle

Intensity of greenhouse gas emissions2 (Scope 13 and Scope 24) in kg CO₂/vehicle

Despite the successful implementation of further CO₂-reducing measures at the sites, such as procuring 100 percent eco-electricity at the external locations of the Ingolstadt site or using biogas for the combined heat and power plant (CHP) at the Böllinger Höfe site in Neckarsulm, total CO₂ emissions per vehicle (in kg) have risen slightly. Among the main reasons for this were a weather-induced increase in the amount of natural gas purchased, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and downscaled production with irregular production days as a result of supply shortages (higher base load). The intensity quotient – the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions related to automotive production including component manufacture – amounted to 288.69 kg CO₂ per vehicle in the year under review.

Emissions Automotive segment (including components) in kg/vehicle
Resource-saving paintwork
Overspray-free painting allows Audi to apply two different colors in the same painting process. Here, the roof of a car is being painted black.

Resource-saving paintwork

Saving costs and time while also protecting the environment – Audi achieves all this with overspray-free painting (OFP). This means that two different colors are applied in the same painting process – first the entire body in the customer’s preferred color, then the roof in black. Until now, two-color paint finishes have inevitably involved two painting processes, with masking-off beforehand.

 

OFP technology revolutionizes this time-consuming and material-intensive process. A robot-controlled high-precision instrument measures the laser-brazed seam between the car’s roof and side panel frame. An applicator then applies a black paint that was specially developed for this method to the roof – with millimeter precision and without spray mist. The precise alignment of the fine strips of black paint creates a clearly defined contrast to the rest of the car – all in one painting line and in a single painting process. OFP technology not only reduces the amount of paint used; it also eliminates the need for masking material. This enables Audi to save resources and to offer its customers a further customization option through a contrasting paint finish. The paint shop in particular show how important the use of state-of-the-art technologies is for resource-friendly production. Audi requires much less material simply because of improved application techniques that reduce the thickness of the individual paint coats by micrometers. Considering the production of the raw materials, this also saves energy and emissions in the supply and disposal chain – so using less paint benefits the environment in a number of ways.

Robin Krause, business unit steering of battery development for the area of Recycling and Second Life, Audi (2022)
Robin Krause, business unit steering of battery development for the area of Recycling and Second Life.

BattMAN ReLife breathes new life into batteries

This BattMAN may not save human lives as a super-hero, but it can give a second life to used high-voltage batteries. For Audi, environmental protection and resource conservation do not end with the delivery of the vehicles – recycling allows high-voltage batteries to be used again in a wide variety of applications.

 

The BattMAN (Battery Monitoring Analysis Necessity) ReLife analysis software developed by Audi Brussels in collaboration with recycling experts at Volkswagen Group Components examines the condition of high-voltage batteries in a matter of minutes.

 

This quick check is utilized at the battery recycling pilot plant that Volkswagen Group Components has been operating in Salzgitter since early 2021. Depending on the capacity that the test system determines, there are three possible scenarios for a battery:

 

  1. Remanufacturing: Due to its good to very good condition, the battery can be remanufactured and then used as a replacement part in an electric vehicle.
  2. Second life: Due to its fair to good condition, the battery can have a second life outside an electric vehicle for many years to come, for example as stationary storage in a fast-charging station such as an Audi Charging Hub.
  3. Efficient Recycling: Batteries and battery modules that have really reached the end of their useful life are carefully broken down by mechanical processes, yielding individual fractions such as aluminum, copper, plastics and “black powder” for recycling. The “black powder” contains graphite and valuable battery raw materials like lithium, nickel, manganese and graphite, which can be separated by hydrometallurgical processes and then reprocessed.

 

The test procedure using BattMAN ReLife software enables Audi to return high-voltage batteries to the reusable materials cycle and conserve resources. Recycling helps ensure future supplies for cell production. After all, recycled battery raw materials are just as efficient as new ones.

Environment management at Audi

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Environment management at Audi

Audi carefully analyzes environmental aspects in its worldwide manufacturing network – with the vision of building its cars in net carbon-neutral plants1 by 2025. Along with emissions, Audi looks at all other site-based environmental aspects of operational value creation.

 

The basis of environmentally compatible production at Audi is the environmental and energy management systems that the company has gradually introduced since 1995. The environmental management system of the European Union, EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme), is installed at almost all European car plants of the Audi Group.

 

The Audi production sites in Germany and abroad have management systems accredited according to DIN EN ISO 140015 or DIN EN ISO 50001.6 The European sites, in particular, are validated additionally in accordance with the EMAS, the premium standard of the European Union. It requires that the sites in question demonstrate the sustained improvement of their environmental performance to specially accredited environmental experts. Compliance with legal requirements is the starting point for this.

 

The Board of Management defines the environmental and energy policy, which is binding for the entire company. Its requirements are reviewed periodically and amended as necessary.

 

The environmental and energy policy applies to all products, services and activities, and is implemented at all levels of the company. The Environmental Protection organizational unit coordinates the Audi Group’s activities in the area of ecology and is the main point of contact for the respective environmental protection bodies of the Volkswagen Group. It develops overarching and strategic regulations and implements these in practice. Environmental protection at the sites comes under the responsibility of the respective environmental protection officer.

Scope of the key figures

Unless otherwise indicated, the environmental key figures are determined on the basis of Volkswagen standard 98000. This standard defines how operational environmental data is to be determined within the Volkswagen Group and its subsidiaries.

 

The aim is to collect and document all environmentally relevant data from all the plants in a comparable manner. The environmental data is primarily based on measurements and calculations.

 

The figures may contain estimates if, for example, they are based on statements from energy suppliers that were not available when data was collected. If significant deviations between the actual values and the reported data are identified in the following year, the data is updated. The individual key figures for 2020 were updated in this report using the actual values for 2020.

 

The scope of the environmental key figures relates to the production sites of the Audi Group. Unless otherwise indicated, these are the following plants: Ingolstadt, Münchsmünster, Neckarsulm, Brussels, Győr, San José Chiapa, Sant’Agata Bolognese (Lamborghini), Bologna (Ducati), Amphur Pluakdaeng (Ducati). Only car-producing sites including component manufacturing are considered for the specific key figures.

 

In addition to the environmental data of the Audi Group (including Ducati motorcycle production at Bologna and Amphur Pluakdaeng), the environmental data of the car production locations (Ingolstadt, Munchsmunster,Neckarsulm, Brussels, Győr, and Sant’Agata Bolognese sites; including San Jose Chiapa) is also shown separately for better comprehensibility.

Audi Report 2021

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Audi Report 2021

Welcome to the Audi Report 2021, the combined annual and sustainability report from AUDI AG. This report combines financial perspectives as well as Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) issues in a unique and transparent manner.

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